There’s about six months between now and the start of free agency, so there’s plenty of time for the Green Bay Packers and star receiver Greg Jennings to strike a deal.
For now, Jennings said his sole focus is the season that starts on Sunday against San Francisco.
“I don’t want to hear anything about it now, but I answered one question about it and that's what kind of stirred everything up,” Jennings said on Wednesday. “But everyone knows what the reality of it is when guys are coming up on a deal. ‘Will you be here?’ If I don’t get a contract, no. ‘Do I want to be here?’ Absolutely. Everyone upstairs knows that. The guys around me know that. But at the end of the day, the focus has to be on football. I have to go out there and prepare as I’ve always prepared, put myself in the best situation to make plays for my team and this organization."
In six seasons, Jennings has 389 receptions, 6,171 yards and 49 touchdowns. With a typical season, he’ll break into the top five in franchise history in each of those numbers.
Jennings is in line for a blockbuster contract. Tampa Bay gave Vincent Jackson more than $11 million per season. Washington gave Pierre Garcon $8.5 million per season. Jennings is a better receiver than either of those players. However, the two-time Pro Bowler will turn 29 on Sept. 21. The Packers are conservative in how they spend money and they’ll have to think long and hard if they want to be paying a 32- and 33-year-old receiver upward of $12 million per season.
“It’s not a distraction,” he said. “I’m not going to allow it to be a distraction. I’ve never allowed my individual off-the-field dealings that I need to take care of become a distraction to myself, let alone the team. I’m glad you guys are asking me right now so we can kill it because it’s a nonissue. It’s one of those deals where I can’t control the situation. I have an agent. He’s working diligently on that. He knows my stance on that. I don’t want to be involved that. I don’t want to worry about that from a week-to-week, day-to-day standpoint. The Packers have their people who work on that. My focus as a player and our focus as a team is the 49ers, and that’s the way we’re going about it, and that will be the way we go about it every week.”
Packers injury report
Out: RB James Starks (toe). Did not participate: S Sean Richardson (hamstring). Limited: TE Tom Crabtree (shoulder); LB Robert Francois (hamstring); CB Davon House (shoulder); RB Jamari Lattimore (ankle); NT B.J. Raji (ankle).
Coach Mike McCarthy was so optimistic about Raji that he mistakenly said he was “full” participation. McCarthy was intentionally vague about House and how much he did at practice. “Davon House) It’s a process. His first day out there. He was on a rep count. We’re cautious with the drills we put him in and so forth. We’ll evaluate him as far as the film and see where he is tomorrow.”
49ers injury report
Did not participate: WR Ted Ginn (ankle); RB Brandon Jacobs (knee).
— How different is the offensive coaching staff after the shuffle spurred from Joe Philbin being named head coach of the Dolphins? “A lot of things, I would say, are the same,”McCarthy said. “We’re game-planning the same way since we all arrived here in ’06. We still run our meetings and installation and the process what players go into the game plan and what do not, the same way. But when Tom is in front of the room, his style and his communication is a little different than Joe’s and that’s part of the uniqueness of our staff. You have the ability to move guys around. There’s a lot of things that are different. Jerry Fontenot, Ben McAdoo and Alex Van Pelt. I really like the way it’s meshed together.”
— The No. 1 offense wasn’t especially sharp in the preseason but McCarthy is comfortable with the “rhythm” gained during the Cincinnati game. “You could see it leading up to the game. I thought that’s where we needed to be. It was good to get Cedric Benson part of that rhythm. We approached the Kansas City game clearly from an evaluation standpoint for the rest of the players on our football team competing for a roster spot. I’m not concerned about what the preseason brings. This is the start of the regular season. We’ll be ready to go and it’s important for us to go play our best football.”
— The coaches are downplaying the importance of this Week 1 game. The players have a different feeling. “Obviously, it’s the opener,” Niners quarterback Alex Smith said. “That alone is a big deal. There’s a lot of energy around that, I don’t care who you’re playing. There’s no easy game and the openers are a big deal. You want to set the tone for the season and you want to get off to a good start. When you’re playing a team like the Packers and the success they’ve had the last couple of years, it kind of steps up even a little more. We’re getting ready to go to Lambeau Field – a historic place, playing the Packers, almost went undefeated last year and won the Super Bowl two years ago. Kind of enough said right there”
— Smith will forever be in Aaron Rodgers’ shadow, but during the preseason, Smith posted a passer rating of 123.6 compared to Rodgers’ 53.8.
Agree or disagree?: Discuss hot Packers topics in our, free forums. Leave Bill a question in the subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum.
Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.